Road Trip to Columbia, CA

Wednesday will be the beginning of a weeklong adventure down to Columbia, CA. Some of you will know my friend Cindy Surendorf. Her father, Charles Surendorf II was an artist of significant acclaim. Cindy’s foundation, to support art and education in our youth, has been proudly posted on my blog site since its inception.

So let’s start with Columbia. Columbia was part of the California gold rush and the area was settled in 1850. Most of the town burned down in 1854 and was rebuilt using a lot of brick and iron. A lot of the town was burned down again in 1857. As it happens there wasn’t much gold to be had, so by 1858 the miners started to leave. The town became locked in time and in the 1940’s parts of were bought up by the state and today it is preserved as it was as a state park.

Charles Surendorf II was born in 1906 and decided that Columbia would be a good place to settle, even though it appears he had a few skirmishes with the people who wanted to build the state park where he was working. To hear Cindy recant the tale he was asked to leave and then asked to come back and that may have happened more than once. Charles Surendorf II is best known for his wood blocks and Art Digest said that he is one of the top 25 in the world. Galleries and Museums around the world own and have displayed his works including the Smithsonian.

So now the two parts of the story come together. A number of his wood blocks depicted scenes from Columbia and the gold rush days. Over Memorial Day Weekend, Cindy will be putting on Charlie’s Woodblock Woodstock. This event will be showing a collection of his artwork and hopes to collect stories about her father during his times there. From what I hear he was not the most angelic of people, so the stories should be good. I am going to help Cindy record those stories, and the people who come to see his art. So for three days we will be in the Eagle Cottage Building collecting those stories and helping Cindy raise money so that she can put on educational classes for kids who want to learn how to make wood blocks prints themselves.

Brought to you by Brian Bailey

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